Which DISC is DiSC®? Different DISC tests explained.

Which DISC is DiSC®? Different DISC tests explained.

What is DISC; what is DiSC®?

Have you seen DISC profiles for sale that seem different from each other? Is the difference more than a lowercase i? Yes. Is the Disc Index different from the DiSC Classic? Yes. It’s important to know which assessment is actually under discussion. They are not all the same. When you see claims that millions of people have used DISC, don’t assume that millions have used the version you might be discussing or considering buying.

The flavors of DISC

The DISC model is not protected by copyright. The DiSC Model of Behavior was first proposed by William Mouton Marston, a Ph.D. psychologist from Harvard. He did not create an assessment tool himself, but others have used his model. Several academics and companies have used his work to create their own psychological inventories.

Depending on the assessment author, DISC can be an acronym for:

  • Dominance or Drive
  • Influence or Inspire
  • Steadiness, Stability, or Submission
  • Compliance, Correctness, or Caution

Various colors might be used to differentiate each personality type.

How to choose among the DISC tests

The questions

Questions should be easily and accurately answered.

Here’s an example of a test item from a free DISC test:

For each group of four descriptions you should have one most like you and only one least like you.

○        My behavior is well disciplined

○        People see me as being generous

○        I am always on the move

○        I persevere until I get what I want

You can see how this would be hard to answer. Many DISC tests and DiSC Classic use this type of forced-choice or ipsative questionnaire.

Other questionnaires will use a Likert scale where you rank each item on a five-point scale from nevertoalways describes me. Or the scale will show choices of “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” with the statement. This type of question gets more useful answers.

Look at the number of questions being asked. A 70-item questionnaire is more reliable than a 20-item questionnaire. An adaptive testing tool that tailors questions on past answers is currently used by Everything DiSC profiles making them more accurate and even easier to answer.

Sample Everything DiSC questions.

Examples from the DiSC® profile questionnaire.

The report

highlights of your Everything DiSC Workplace profileYou can’t do much with a report that gives you only a page or two about your results. The real power of DiSC is in both what it teaches you about yourself and what it teaches you about interacting with others who have styles unlike your own.

Reports should be easily read, memorable, and accurate. They should take care with language, presenting all personalities in a balanced manner. Reports full of charts and graphs can be interesting, but they also need to be memorable and easy to interpret.

If you hear people criticize DISC profiles for lacking reliability or validity, they are almost always referring to issues around the presentation of an adaptive style. After multiple attempts, researchers at Inscape Publishing (now a part of Wiley) were not able to validate the adaptive style graphs; therefore, they were abandoned.

We recommend reading the full descriptions for the four styles with an eye toward the language being used. Would a C reading about her style feel like it was harsh and judgmental, or accurate and affirming? Would an S reading about his style feel like he was reading about a pushover or would it feel supportive and clear?

DiSC® Profile Sample Reports

The research

Wiley, the publisher of all of Everything DiSC assessments, is committed to maintaining the highest standards of instrument development and application through a careful research and development process. They ensure all of the instruments offer valid scores and accurate feedback to the respondent. Each instrument is designed to provide reasonably accurate interpretations or feedback based on your scores. There’s an entire book detailing the research behind Everything DiSC: Everything DiSC® Manual. The following research reports provide more easily digested information on the reliability and validity of the DiSC assessments:

About Everything DiSC: Theory and Research (PDF)
Explanation of the DiSC model and the research behind it.

Everything DiSC Research Report for Adaptive Testing Assessment (PDF)
This report provides the validity research for the Everything DiSC assessment profiles.

How My Graph Became a Dot (PDF)
How the newer Everything DiSC circle and dot representation was developed to make the model simpler, more intuitive, and more relevant than the classic graph model.

Curious about what goes into creating a new DiSC profile? Read How a new DiSC profile was created: DiSC Work of Leaders.

Your needs

How will you use a personality assessment? With Everything DiSC you have more focused options. Many people use DISC profiles in their company or organization. Others use it for sales training or leadership development. Some use it for conflict resolution, couples’ counseling, or job coaching. Everything DiSC offers the following profiles:

MyEverythingDiSCDo you want your participants to be able to continue using DiSC insights after they leave the conference or training room? MyEverythingDiSC is a personalized learning experience that allows learners to gain deeper insights about DiSC and the people they know. Reports and more are always available to participants from their own laptop or mobile device.

Facilitation support

The best versions of DISC will have support for people delivering the profiles. Not each variety of DISC has training materials available. Some want you to use a consultant to deliver and interpret results.

DiSC facilitation support from www.discprofile.com

The cost

DiSC for free?

Yes, you can get a DISC profile for free from a company like 123test, Quibblo, or even Tonyrobbins.com. But you probably get what you pay for. (And we don’t know of any that cost $250.)

Hidden costs can include up-selling. In other words, some companies will use your contact information to try to sell you additional services or coaching you might not want.

Ask questions

Look for this image when shopping for the most reliable, memorable, and well-researched DiSC profiles. Wiley is the world’s leading provider of DiSC-based learning solutions.

If you want an assessment that provides value to the person who takes it and for your organization, then you want a profile that gives accurate results, is memorable, and challenges the people who take it to adapt their behavior based on what they’ve learned. You want a tool to improve communication, leadership, salesmanship, and teamwork. You want Everything DiSC.


See also:

Which DiSC® to Use?, DiSCProfile.com

DiSC® is different, Intégro blog

Why choose Everything DiSC?

by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team


  1. Leslie 1 year ago

    Hi, just one question. Why are the colors not unify? It’s so normal to speak about a red person with dominant behaviors. But here it’s a green colour, Why? I love the this DISC profile test but only the colour switch makes my mind crazy haha.

    • Author
      The DiSCProfile.com team 1 year ago

      The DISC model is not covered by copyright so there are several tests based on it. Personality Profile System 2800 was the first (and is now sold as DiSC® Classic). Wiley, the publisher of Everything DiSC®, has continued to conduct research and the colors reflected here are from their suite of assessments. Other publishers use different colors, different questions, and different norming. Always look for Everything DiSC to ensure you’re receiving the best assessment results.

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